Northwich Road

Northwich Road follows the line of a Roman road, and during construction of the M56 in the early 1970s, part of the original road was revealed. It was made of cobbles, set in sand on top of natural red sandstone with a gravel surface.

Today this is a busy route between Warrington and Northwich.  It almost follows the original Roman road, but varies along its track. For instance behind Wayside Cottages the old maps clearly show the route of the old road. There was talk many years ago of realigning or reinstating the road but it never happened.

One local resident remembers the days during the 1940s when Northwich Road was so quiet that it was possible to play football and cricket in the road. However over the years the amount and speed of traffic has increased and traffic calming was introduced in January 2002.  

Summit Farm
This was so called because it is one of the highest points around the area at nearly 85m / 280 ft above sea level. In the census of 1851 it was called Stretton Mount. The highest point was removed when the M56 was constructed in the 1970s, and the motorway cut through immediately to the north of the farm house.

M56 - Copy
Schematic of M56 motorway on 1933 map Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland under the Creative Commons Attribution licence

In 1808 William Darbyshire moved to Stretton from Over Whitley. He was a Quaker and had married fellow worshiper Martha Penketh in 1796. The couple went on to have at least eleven children. Sadly Martha died in 1824 at the age of 50 leaving the youngest just six. William, who had become a successful cheese factor, married again in 1827 to widow Mary Bancroft (nee Bradbury). The couple spent eight years together before William died at Summit Farm in 1837.

The tithes map of 1846 shows that this farm was owned by Mary Darbyshire and occupied by her step-son Philip Darbyshire.  In 1851 Philip was living there with his wife, Susanna, and young family farming 31 acres. Also visiting was his younger sister Martha whose husband, George Bradshaw, became the well known originator of railway guides. The Bradshaw and Darbyshire families were closely connected through two marriages and their Quaker faith.

In 1859 the freehold property was put up for sale. This included fields called Wheat Ridding in the occupation of Philip Darbyshire. By 1861 the farm had passed to Philip’s nephew, John Darbyshire. John Darbyshire was an ardent Quaker, who was born in 1831 at Antrobus and had previously assisted his father at Morphany Hall, Newton by Daresbury.  Also living at Summit Farm was his youngest sister Mary and cousin George Darbyshire, from Leicestershire.   As with her brother John, Lucy was also born at Morphany Hall and in 1849 stitched a sampler portraying her home. More details about Lucy’s life is contained here.

Mary Darbyshire Sampler 1849

Initially John farmed Summit Farm along with his sister Mary, but by 1871 his parents James and Mary moved in, having left Morphany Hall where they had farmed for thirty years. In January 1879 John’s father, James, died and immediately John married Sarah Hough at the relatively late age of 48. Sarah was the sister of Thomas Hough who farmed next door at Lane End Farm. The couple had two children, John Hough and Hannah, and also living in the house was Sarah’s mother, Elizabeth Hough (nee Swinton). In addition to farming, John also had his responsibilities as district surveyor of the highways. The census returns of April 1911 shows John accompanied by his wife Sarah, son John Hough and daughter Hannah; he died just two months later aged 80.

In 1915 John Hough Darbyshire married Elizabeth Faulkner, daughter of  Alfred Faulkner of Moss Hall, and the couple moved to Lane End Farm just down the road.  By 1930 George and Marianne Dickens were living there.

In the 1950s Summit Farm was called Summit House as the land was farmed by the Blackshaw family from New Farm.

Summit Farm 1978
Summit Farm in 1978 taken by Robin Marshall

Summit Cottage
According to the elector’s register Edward and Mary Ann Bibby were living at Summit Cottage in 1930. The 1945 electoral register shows Harold and Emmeline Heesom living at Summit Cottage. Harold was born in Stretton in 1916. By 1962 the new houses had been built in Bower Crescent, and Harold and Emmeline had moved there. They were replaced by Jeanne and Arthur North who stayed for around ten years. The 1971 electoral register shows that Harry and Maureen Brocklehurst were living at Summit Cottage and they were still there in 1974.

Roadside Cottages, corner of Northwich Road and Hall Lane
In 1841 John Dawson and family; George Highfield and family; Hugh Wilkinson; James Moore; Samuel Savage and family; Thomas Holland and family and Samuel Cooper lived in these cottages. According to tithes map, some five years later, there were five cottages owned by James Smith of Stretton Hall and occupied by: John Dawson, George Highfield, Peter Highfield, James Moore and Samuel Savage.

Roadside Cottage
Roadside Cottages Reproduced with permission of the National Library of Scotland under Creative Commons Attribution licence

In 1891 James Highfield; Albert Povey; James Simpson and Samuel Maddock with their families were living there. The cottages still owned by James Smith of Stretton Hall.

Gresty's Shop
Gresty’s Shop

The 1911 census records Abel Gresty living with wife Sarah and daughters: Ethel, Sarah and Mabel, and sons John, Fred and Herbert. There was also Annie, their eldest daughter who was working as a servant in Weaverham at the time. Mabel was at school with Thomas Savage. The family had arrived from Little Leigh just a couple of years before, with Abel working in the manufacture of soap; by 1939 he was recorded as a retired pump attendant.  Abel and Sarah continued living in Lower Stretton until their deaths. Abel died in 1958 aged 88, and Sarah in 1961 aged 89. Gresty’s shop was well known in Lower Stretton  but closed in 1944. In 1911 other neighbours included Samuel Wilkinson and Hugh Timmis and their families.

According to Tom Savage who was born in Stretton in 1912, there were three houses behind Gresty’s shop: Mrs Robinson known as “Fisher Mary”; Sammy Heesom and then a number of occupants in the end house, including Jimmy Mills.

In the 1930s Sarah and Abel’s daughter Sarah Ellen was living next door to the shop with her husband Jack Moffatt and daughter Sylvia before they later moved to Beech Cottages along Stretton Road. Mrs Robinson lived in the cottages with her children Edward, Gordon, Gladys and John. She was widowed and later moved down the road to number 205. The Timmis family were still living in the cottages prior to moving to 203 Northwich Road.

Poole’s Farm (Lane End Farm/Northwich House)
The present farmhouse was built in 1825, but there was a property on the land previously. According to the land tax assessments, John Poole (elder and then younger) owned and occupied the property from prior to 1785 until after 1830, when son Joseph took over. Joseph continued at Lane End Farm until 1855 when he and his family moved to Mosswood Hall farming 175 acres, meanwhile Thomas Hough and his family had moved in. The Hough family remained in the village for only ten years but in that time five children were born and Thomas’ sister married John Darbyshire, the farmer next door.

In December 1890 the farm and all the implements was put up for sale with Mr William Carter the occupier. George Blackshaw was first recorded as living at Poole’s Farm in 1891 having recently moved from Hatton. The family still farms in the village today. George and his wife Sarah Ann remained at the farm until they moved to New Farm. Just five years later November 1895 the farm was on the market again. This time it was purchased by Miss Leather of Stretton for £2,100, with George Blackshaw the tenant. Miss Leather also purchased six freehold cottages with gardens in Lower Stretton for £300 and two freehold cottages adjoining the former lot for £150.

The farm and cottages in Well Lane, as well as the shop in Lower Stretton, were all put up for sale in 1903. They were sold to Mr. Jacob Sankey for £2,150. At the time George Blackshaw was the occupier and the farm consisted of 23 acres in what was described as a “healthy neighbourhood.”  In the 1911 census Richard Henry (Harry) Miller was living there but did not remain longer than a few years.

After John Hough Darbyshire’s marriage to Elizabeth Faulkner in 1915, he moved from Summit Cottage to Lane End Farm. According to the electoral register of 1930 Elizabeth’s sister, Bertha Mary Faulkner, was living at the farm. By 1939 Bertha had moved away, and John and Elizabeth were there with daughter Marjorie. In 1945, John Hough Darbyshire and his wife Elizabeth were living at Lane End Farm with son and daughter in law, John Sankey and Gladys. Two years later the parents had moved out and the family remained at Lane End until after 1974.

In October 1974, Lane End Farm was put up for sale – the four bedroom house came complete with two thirds of an acre and a heated swimming pool.

Poole’s Cottages
The tithe map of 1846 shows five cottages along the edge of Well Lane. These were all owned by Joseph Poole, and occupied by Thomas Eyes (junior); James Moores; Henry Simpson; John Wright and John Yates.

In 1891 George Highfield and  James Povey their respective families were recorded as living there. At the turn of the century, the farm house had been a butchers when Harry Miller lived there and the small outbuilding in the yard opposite the cottages had been the slaughterhouse.

Later on these were turned into the farm shippons when the farm was put together as a farmyard sometime in the 1930s.

West View Cottages
In the tithes survey of 1846, this was just one house, shop and garden. It was owned and occupied by Mary Ann Wright, daughter of Peter Wright. During the 19th century three cottages were built on the land.

1, West View Cottages
The 1841 and 1851 census returns recorded this house as occupied by Mary Ann Wright who was born in Stretton in 1798.  In 1861 Mary Ann was joined by Ann Eyes who was a dressmaker also born in the parish. Ann remained with Mary Ann and they were accompanied by Ann’s niece, Mary Eyes. Mary Ann Wright died in 1885 and from then until 1900 Ann and Mary Eyes lived at West View Cottage. Ann Eyes died in 1900 and Mary Eyes was continued living there alone until her death in March 1919.

In 1939 Martin Donelan and his wife Mary Alice (nee Greaves) were living at No. 1 West View Cottage. Mary Alice grew up more or less next door as her father was the licensee of the Ring O’Bells. Martin Donelan remained at West View Cottages until his death in 1973 at the age of 87.

2, West View Cottages
The 1891 census recorded Annie Vernon as a 57 year old widowed shop keeper. Annie Vernon died three years later in December 1894, and the 1901 census recorded the cottage occupied by her brother-in-law James Vernon who was a “road locomotive engine driver” and born in Stretton. Along with James was his wife Sarah, son Gilbert, daughter Mabel and grandson William Vernon. By 1907 James had died and his family moved to the Cat and Lion Cottages. In the 1911 census, Sarah Ann Ball was living at West View Cottage with her son and granddaughter Alice.

In 1939 widower James Hewitt, a retired railway caster, and Ada Plumb, housekeeper, were the occupants; Ada remained at West View Cottages until her death in May 1968 aged 85. In 1974 Frank Fitzgerald had moved in.

3, West View Cottages
In 1891 George Simpson, a widower, was living at West View Cottage with his daughters and one year old grandson. George married Hannah Millward, a widow from Tanners Row, Well Lane, in 1898 and the family moved to Peace and Plenty (now Little House) in Common Lane.

According to the 1901 census, Roger Lightfoot was living at 3, West View Cottages with his family; he then moved to Aston Grange, and by the 1911 census his mother-in-law Selina Wright had moved in. Selina was a charwoman from Antrobus who had previously lived further along Northwich Road. She was widowed when she was only 41, but in 1922 at the age of 75 married Thomas Cotterill from Pill Moss Lane, Higher Whitley and moved from West View Cottages. Selina died there four years later in March 1926.

By 1939, James and Sarah Ann Lafferty had moved to West View Cottages from Stretton Road. They had no children and James died in 1940. Sarah Ann died in the early spring of 1955.

Ring O’ Bells Inn
There is a suggestion that the present Ring O’Bells were the stables for the Bull’s Head inn across the road where Ashfield now stands. However we do know from the tithe maps that in 1845 Peter Nicholson of Thelwall Hall was landowner of a house licensed as a Beer Shop and Garden and it was occupied by James Daniels in the current location. In 1851 it was known as Crown Inn, having previously been called the Rose and Crown, and shortly afterwards Thomas Lang moved in. His family continued to manage the inn for many years, even past his death. In 1863 Thomas Lang applied for a licence to sell spirituous liquors which was granted, having been rejected four years earlier in 1859.

In 1881 his widow, Amelia was living there, along with her niece Ann and nephew William Lang Greaves, but died two years later aged 65. Ten years later in 1891 census William Greaves was noted as a beer house keeper and lived at the inn with his wife and son, James. William Greaves remained there with his family until his death in 1917 aged 67. In 1920 his son James took over with his widowed mother and he was still there in 1947. According to Tom Savage, James Greaves used to kill pigs and take orders for black puddings.

Sometime during the 19th century the ownership changed from Peter Nicholson to Greenall Whitley & Co. There was an action in the Parish Council meeting of October 1895 for the clerk to write to the owners about the quality and water supply to the premises. Both the Cat and Lion and The Ring of Bells ran tontine saving schemes for the Irish labourers who worked on the farms in the 1860s.

During the early part of the 20th century, the Ring O’Bells came under scrutiny from the local magistrates. In 1907 William Lang Greaves was summoned to the Daresbury Petty Sessions for permitting drunkenness on his premises – with James Povey of Lower Stretton once again being fined for drunkenness.

Ash Cottage (Ashfield)
The present house, opposite the Ring O’ Bells, was built in 1810, however there was a building on the land prior to that. The deeds show that at one time it was called the Bull’s Head, and in 1809 it was the home of  John Beckett, landlord of The Bull’s Head.  It was sold in August 1837 by private treaty. In 1841 an unmarried 35 year old farmer, Peter Leather, was living there with his widowed mother. The 1846 tithes records shows that it was owned and occupied by Peter Leather and he was still there in 1851. By this time he was married with two young daughters. From 1861 onwards, Peter was recorded as a farmer of 14 acres living at Spark Hall, now known as The Stretton Fox.

Peter Leather died in 1879 aged 73 and it looks like his daughter Hannah and her husband Daniel Glover moved in. They stayed beyond 1885 after which they moved to Burtonwood.

In 1891 Ash Cottage was occupied by his son, also called Peter Leather, where he remained with his family until after 1901. A notice in the Warrington Guardian in July 1903 indicates that the house had been sold, and a tenant Mrs Cash had been living there with “superior household furniture.” This was put up for auction as she was going abroad. Peter Leather was recorded on his death in 1906 as being ‘of Spark Hall’.

In 1911 Edward Holmes, a farmer, was living at Ash Cottage, followed by William Howard  in 1930. In 1940 it was sold by William Howard “of Whitley” to George Parry of Dairy Farm, Great Budworth. The 1945 Elector’s Register shows Rebecca and George Parry living with their daughter and son-in-law Marjorie and Ronald Hughes. After the death of Mrs Parry the house was sold to a Mr Lloyd.

Corner of Northwich Road and Common Lane (Dougie’s Garage)
In 1841 Joseph Millington and family were recorded as living in one of the two cottages. This concurs with the tithes map five years later which shows it owned by George Warburton. The other cottage was occupied by Thomas Eyes in 1841 and then John Wilkinson in 1846. The entrances to these cottages were off Common Lane and the gardens ran in a north/south direction. There was a well at the side of the road. The map below for the sale of Stretton House shows that George Warburton was still the landowner

Stretton Hall Estate Sale 1884 20 - Copy
George Warburton, landowner 1884


Later the cottages were removed, and a bungalow and garage built. John and Gladys Smith lived in the bungalow, called Propontis in 1939. They were there in 1971 but not in 1974.

Northwich Road, opposite Common Lane (Wayside)
These two cottages are among the oldest in the village.  For many years they formed part of the Stretton House estate owned by the Okell family. The 1841 census recorded John Walmsley and Samuel Sutton as the occupants of each cottage. By the time of the 1846 tithes, the returns show that they were owned by George Warburton and occupied by Thomas Holland and Samuel Sutton.

In the 20th century, Elsie and Frederick Jones lived in one house, and Albert and Alice Povey lived in the other; Albert Povey was a retired farm labourer. Elsie Jones was the daughter of Thomas Wilkinson Cooper who lived with his family in Well Lane. The Jones family lived at Roadside from around 1939 until the 1950s when they moved to Bower Crescent.

Albert Povey died in 1939 and his wife a few years later in 1943. Mr Bertram Mather and his wife Violet followed – they were the sister and husband of Albert and Alice’s daughter-in-law Mary Harrison who was married to their son Alfred.   By 1951, Violet and Bertram had divorced, and Violet went on to marry Bill Greaves (see Heather Coulson’s comments below). Bertram Mather also re-married and died at Lower Stretton in November 1990.

Spring Bank
John Rutter and his family were living at Spring Bank in 1891 where he worked as a grocer. His daughter Mary Jane married Charles Mounfield and in 1911 was living at Tan Yard Farm. By 1901 John Rutter had moved to Whitley and Charles’ cousin George Mounfield was running the grocery shop with his family. In 1903 the ownership of the shop the adjoining house was put up for sale. George Mounfield and Mr. Beasley were given as the occupiers. It was sold to Mr. Benson. George Mounfield went on to run the Beehive Stores following the departure of Oswald Willett around 1912.

Following the Mounfields, Thomas Morris moved in. According to Tom Savage, Thomas Morris worked nights at Whitecross Wire Works. He would walk down to Stockton Heath to catch the tram to work, and then in the morning collect the papers from Stockton Heath and walk back up to Stretton. He moved up to Stretton from Stockton Heath where he was living in 1911, and was at Spring Bank until he died in 1943. Ernest and Jean Brocklehurst family then moved in; Ernest died but Jean and her family were still recorded as living there in the electoral register of 1974.

Rose Cottage
In 1920 Andrew Michie was living at Rose Cottage according to the electoral register of that year. By 1930 it was occupied by Arthur and Elsie Clayton who lived there for the rest of their lives. Elsie (née Lawson) was born in Whitley but went to school in Stretton where she was  photographed in 1913, aged 7. Elsie and Arthur had a number  of children including Dorothy who moved in next door to Rose Bank. In 1939 it was occupied by Robert Clayton and his wife Lettitia Gill, parents of Arthur Clayton.

Rose Bank
This house was built in the garden of Rose Cottage by Arthur Clayton for his daughter, Dorothy, and her husband Stanley Burton in the 1960s.  Stanley died in 1979 and Dorothy subsequently re-married. She died on 24 December 2013 and is buried alongside Stanley in the churchyard.

201-211 Northwich Road
The land was primarily an orchard for Stretton House and in 1846 was owned and occupied by Thomas Okell.

Stretton Hall Estate Sale 1884 20 - Copy (2)
Lot 6 in 1884 Sale of Stretton Hall Estate

There is some discussion whether the houses were built as tied cottages for Walnut Tree Farm or whether they were houses for the residents from the corner of Hall Lane/Northwich Road. Some of those families who were living along Common Lane (where the garage now stands) moved into these houses by 1939. The numbering still causes confusion as there are no houses numbered up to 200 or beyond 212 along Northwich Road.

201, Northwich Road: In 1939 widow Ada Gleave was living in the house with her daughter Lillian, but six years later Ada had died and Frederick and Frances Greaves had moved in. Frederick was the son of Thomas Greaves of Well Lane, and nephew of William Greaves at the Ring O’Bells. Following the Greaves were Mr and Mrs Herbert Robinson, and then Alfred and Frances Hankey. They stayed until after 1974.

203, Northwich Road: In 1939 Edward and Mary Timmis were living there having moved from the corner of Common Lane and Northwich Road. Edward’s father, Hugh, was first recorded as living in Stretton in the 1911 census.

205, Northwich Road: Emily Robinson who was widowed moved in with her children Edward, Gordon, Gladys and John from where the garage now stands, and were still there in 1974. There is are photographs of Gordon Robinson at school.

207, Northwich Road: Robert Cook was living there in 1939 with his wife, Annie (née Gresty), and son Norman Cook. Annie’s parents (Abel and Sarah Gresty) lived further up Northwich Road. The family lived at No. 207 for many years and Annie remained following Robert’s death in 1969. Annie died in June 1974.

209, Northwich Road: Edward and Elizabeth Wilkinson were living at number 209 in 1939, with their son William. Elizabeth was still there in 1971 after her husband’s death in 1967. Alfred Harrison, his wife Dorothy and son Stephen moved from White House Lodge to Northwich Road in 1974.

211, Northwich Road: Samuel and Ruth Heesom were living in the house in 1939. Ruth (née Simpson) was born in Stretton and the couple lived in the village with their six children. They died within just days of each other in 1979 and are buried in the churchyard.

211 Northwich Road beautiful gardens copy 4

Stretton House
This is a Grade 2 listed house that was built in 1788, although there was a farm on the land previously. The Okell family lived at Stretton House for many years with it changing hands within the extensive family.

In 1753 a Robert Okell from Aston by Sutton purchased the Stretton Hall estate.  Six years later one of Robert Okell’s sons married Mary Eaton and part of the marriage was a dowry paid by her father, Robert Eaton, of £500. A four part agreement was made between Robert Okell, Robert Eaton & Mary Eaton, John Eaton and Samuel Okell & Thomas Eaton (the last being sons of the first two).

In 1800, John Okell the younger sold the estate to Thomas Hewitt of Chester, however Thomas Fluitt tenant of John Okell owed Joseph Parr money and this ended up in the Chester Assizes.

In 1836, the house and other properties, (including Rooley Moor Farm)  and land were put up for private sale.  This contained eight lots with Stretton House being marketed as a desirable residence for a genteel family. The notice a year later in the Chester Chronicle in June 1837, shows that whilst some of the estate had been sold, Stretton House was still in the hands of John Okell and family, as it was in 1838.

SAM_9301 - Copy

The tithe map of 1846 shows it was owned and occupied by Thomas Okell, who was recorded there in the census of 1841 and was still occupying it in April 1851. By October that year Thomas had died and the estate was up for sale by his sons. The estate also included Great Merryfall in Whitley.

February 2015 116 - Copy
1851 map from Sale of Stretton House

The census of 1861 shows that Joseph Smith and his family were farming 63 acres. According to a his obituary written in 1896, Smith had moved in to Stretton House on the late Mr Cragg giving it up, and became a tenant under the late Mr Benjamin Pierpoint, the father of the present member for Warrington. Here Mr Smith kept large numbers of pigs and set up a small stationary engine to grind his own provender, and finding it remunerative he started as a “swaller” and supplied his neighbours with what they wanted. About this time threshing by hand began to die out, and Mr Smith seized the opportunity to start a movable threshing machine worked by horses, which soon led him on to a portable engine and threshing machine, by which he was enabled to do a profitable business.  

By 1864 Joseph Smith had moved to Stretton Hall up the road, and James Willett had moved in. James Willett was included in Morris and Co’s directory of 1874 where he was listed as a surgeon; his nephew Oswald went on to run the village post office and another nephew, Arthur, became the village sexton.  Around 1880 James Willett and family moved down to Stockton House, Appleton, and William Wilkinson, his wife Anne and family moved in.

They were followed by Warrington wire manufacture, James Job Smith who became the tenant of the six acre property but the house was put up for let in May 1883 with immediate possession. The house and grounds were auctioned on 20 August 1884 and a footnote on the bottom of the sales particulars states:

…and is a nice little residential property suitable for a medical or retired professional gentleman…

Stretton Hall Estate Sale 1884 19 - Copy
Stretton House – Lot 6 in the Sale of the Stretton Hall Estate 1884

In 1901 the house was unoccupied. By 1906 Albert Percival was recorded as living at Stretton House as a farmer in a local trade directory and in January 1909 sadly lost a valuable Shire Horse stallion in a stable fire. Albert and his family had previously lived in Antrobus but emigrated to Ontario, Canada.

The census return of 1911 shows William Benson  a single, 50 year old draper who was born in Warrington living there with his two sisters, Alice and Mary. According to electoral register of 1920 William Benson was still in residence, although by 1930 William and Jane Hamilton had arrived, and then  in 1939, the Bennett family had moved in.  Leonard Bennett was an auctioneer and his two sons (Leonard junior and Raymond) fought in the Second World War and are both recorded on the Service Register of 1945. In June 1945 Stretton House was put up for auction in Warrington and the Bennett family moved to Pump House Farm in Antrobus. It appears from the 1947 electoral register that Lawrence and Doris Pilkington had acquired the property and remained there for around ten years. In December 1956 Mr Lawrence Pilkington put the Stretton Guernsey Herd up for sale.

Mr and Mrs Colin Smettem, as well as Mary Gibson, were recorded in the Electoral Register in 1962.  Pam Heesom has kindly supplied a photograph of Jame Smettem with friends at Stretton School around 1960.

In August 1969, Stretton House was put up for sale. The property consisted of two acres and an adjoining cottage.  In 1974, Peter Harper and his family were living in Stretton House, and Harry Hudson was in Stretton House Cottage.

Stretton Farm (Walnut Tree Farm) 
Earliest records of the farm date back to the land tax records of 1780. It shows that the farm was owned by William Widders and occupied by Robert Forrest. This arrangement continued for a further fifteen years until 1795 when John Beckett became the tenant farmer. William Widders died and his son Thomas Widders took ownership. By 1805 William Allen was farming and he continued until 1815 when William Barlow moved in. In 1820 the ownership changed to Thomas Barnes with William Pointon and then William Moreton living as tenant farmer.

William Moreton married Mary Eaton from Comberbach the couple had seven children together, but Mary died aged 40 in 1820.  Six months later William Moreton married a young widow, Rebecca Newton (née Rowland), and so became brother-in-law to his farming neighbour Peter Rowland. They both had children from their first marriages, but went on to have two further sons. Sadly just after giving birth to their daughter, Sarah, in 1826, Rebecca died followed by the baby just a few days later.  In 1828 William Moreton married a third time. He was 47 and his young wife, Mary Newton, was just 20.  As well as caring for his children from his second marriage. Mary gave birth to Charles Newton Moreton in 1830. William died in 1837, but there is no further record of his widow.

The tithes map of 1846 shows the farm was occupied by James Massey and his wife Elizabeth.  They had been in Stretton for at least five years as were recorded living at the farm in the 1841 census. The tithes records show that the farm was owned jointly by five landowners: Thomas Baguley, Peter Davis, William Eaton, Thomas Moreton and Thomas Williams. These were the brothers-in-law of the previous tenant, William Moreton through his first wife Mary Eaton.

In 1851 John and his wife Catherine Wilde (née Moreton) were farming. Catherine was the niece of all the above named landowners, and grew up at Walnut Tree Farm being the eldest daughter of William Moreton who had farmed there in the 1820s. John and Catherine were still at Walnut Tree Farm in 1861, farming 87 acres and employing seven labourers, of whom six were from Ireland. By 1881 John Wild was nearly 70, and within a four years the couple had retired and moved to Great Budworth village.

George Kinsey followed and in 1911 was farming with his brother-in-law, John Percival, and sons. His wife Sylvia and son, Thomas Henry, died at Walnut Tree Farm in 1918 and 1919 respectively. 

In 1914 Alex Frith was farming at Walnut Tree Farm. The Frith family were a well known Cheshire farming family and Alex’s mother, Catherine Massey, was the niece of James Massey who farmed Walnut Tree during the 1840s. There was also a connection to the Kinsey family, with George Kinsey being the father-in-law of Alex’s brother Peter Frith. Alex was married to Margaret Thomason from Antrobus and they had three daughters: Winnie, Annie and Lily. Annie was photographed at Stretton School in the 1920s.  The family was still at Walnut Tree Farm in 1939, along with retired farm labourer John Thomason. In December 1843, Walnut Tree Farm was put put up for sale and by January 1944 the sale had completed with a notice for sale of cattle and fixtures appearing in the local papers.  The farm was put up for sale at £5,000, but sold to Frank Blackshaw at £6,450.

Walnut Tree Farm 1982
Walnut Tree Farm 1982

Mr Frank Smith with his wife  known as Trixie  (Beatrice) rented Walnut Tree Farm from the Blackshaw family from 1950 until 1961. Stuart and Joan Blackshaw (nee Billington)  from Brookside Farm lived at Walnut Tree from 1961 until 1988.

19 thoughts on “Northwich Road”

  1. Reading names from my childhood visits to Stretton. My eyes came out on stalkes to see James Povey My Great Grandfahrer was James Povey I think he lived in Hatton Lane

    1. Hello, a late reply but my mother was Dorothy Gleave and I believe she was descended from the Povey family. Her mum was Ada Gleave mentioned above living at 201.

      1. Philip I remember Dorothy from my childhood my Mothers cousin I think My Nan a Povey married a Wilkinson .

  2. My great-great grandfather was Isaac Hewitt, his daughter Elsie married my great grandad Basil Meade.

  3. Does anyone have any thoughts on RED DOORS BARN farm Stretton run by John Shaw in the 1860’s. Where was it in Stretton ? Thanks Peter

  4. Thank you Clare my G grandfather John Shaw farmed there.His second wife Martha gave birth to Matthew Shaw in 1867 who was my Grandfather. Thank you for the info. Is the farm land now covered in houses. Peter

  5. Bertram mather was married to my great aunty violet she didnt pass away in 1951. They got devorced and aunty vi went on to marry bill greaves. Two of aunty violets sisters mary and evelyn married two of the povey boys alfred and ernest.

  6. Hi clare i have got a box of pictures , i think it might be one of the houses,near to grestys shop,they are wedding photos. My great great grand,parent the simpsons are on one of them, also i have some really old pictures of walking day my nan on my mums side is on it it looks in the 1930s,also so old stretton school,photos 1930s again i think . Heather

  7. can anyone tell me were a Freda Cliffe was working as a domestic servant in the locality, her sister Esme married Frank Savage, on a document i have she has put her address as 209 northwich rd this was in 1936.

  8. 2 West view cottages James Vernon was my great grandfather his first wife was Elizabeth Garner they had 2 children Sarah and grandfather Arthur born 1876 he died in 1969 he lived in semi detached cottage on Owens corner .the council took a lot of the garden when they built the roundabout.. my dad and his his best mate Vin Broady accidentally set fire to Whitley reed in the early 30s they had dug a den and left a fire burning in it . It was months before it went out John Vernon

  9. Hi, my name is Rud Eaton.
    I might be barking up the wrong tree but my ancestor was William Eaton, born 1734, to John and Mary Eaton, a farmer from Newton by Daresbury.
    Do you think this farmer might be related to some of the Eatons in your well researched article?
    Many thanks,
    Rud Eaton

    1. Hi Rud, have traced your line back and have also reached a stop at William, born to John and Mary. Also searched all the Eaton wills which would have helped, but unfortunately there were none by an Eaton of that time/name or area that would help. It maybe that they were distantly related as Eaton was a very popular name at that time – more so around Antrobus. Will keep looking!

  10. Hello Maureen Tweed sorry I have only just seen your post. I recall my mother was related to the Povey family and I was interested to read on the site some history about the family. My mother had a brother Ken and a sister Lily who you also might know.

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